December 19, 2014
Bergoglio’s List headed for big screen
A new film about Pope Francis saving lives during the dictatorship will be shot in Italy
Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani is getting ready to shoot a film about former Argentine prelate Jorge Bergoglio focusing on his role in saving lives during the last military dictatorship.
“I’m very happy to announce that I’ve just bought the audiovisual rights for the book La lista de Bergoglio by Nello Scavo,” TV producer, singer and actress Claudia Mori told reporters yesterday. Her announcement made headlines all over the world, especially since the film’s director will be Liliana Cavani, author of the 1974 classic The Night Porter, with Charlotte Rampling and Dick Bogarde.
Pope Francis’s life is already being adapted for the big screen in other projects, including Alejandro Agresti’s film with Rodrigo de la Serna playing Bergoglio. Nello Scavo’s book is presented as an investigation into the former archbishop’s role during the dictatorship, when he was the leader of the Jesuits and, according to a number of testimonies, he saved the lives of several people who were hunted by the junta.
“When I read Nello Scavo’s beautiful book, I was fascinated by the human and historic journey he describes and I felt the need to share it with the audience and with producer Claudia Mori, who immediately delved into the project,” Cavani told the Vatican paper Observatore Romano.
Very little is clear at the moment about Bergoglio’s List. Mori has already handed in two script drafts at RAI without receiving any verdict from the network.
“We’ve already started working on it. Liliana is writing the script with Umberto Contarello (screenwriter of recent Oscar-winner The Great Beauty) and Scavo. I plan to make the film even without support from RAI (Italian state television). In order to broach such a delicate topic as the pope, it’s vitally important to have Cavani at the helm, as a warranty due to her cultural expertise and intellectual honesty,” Mori told the Vatican’s radio yesterday. “Just to give you an inkling, if in 1943-44 fascist Italy we would have had many Bergoglios (even if we would have just a few), there would have been less horrors and the Church would have been able to resurface with a clearer conscience from that difficult time,” Mori added.
Bergoglio's List was published only a month after Jorge Bergoglio was elected by the Vatican conclave as Pope Francis. There have been claims that its purpose is to clean the pope’s image after many had accused him of his complicity or turning a blind eye to human rights violations in the last military dictatorship.
The first book to question Bergoglio’s conduct at the time was The Complicity of the Church and the Dictatorship written by the late Human rights leader Emilio Mignone in 1986. It was followed by journalist Horacio Verbitsky’s book El Silencio in 2005, which further investigated the matter.
Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, for example, who in the past had written a preface for Mignone’s book and was critical of Bergoglio’s position before he was elected pope, later decided to write a preface for Bergoglio’s List also.
The main accusation against Bergoglio revolves around the kidnapping of two priests: Orlando Iorio and Francisco Jalics, who claimed that Bergoglio had given the military dictatorship the green light to kidnap them. Jalics recanted his accusations only after Bergoglio became pope while Iorio believed that the prelate was involved with their kidnapping to the day he died.
According to Scavo, who interviewed a number of personalities and common people in Argentina, “Father Jorge arguably saved the lives of more than a hundred people. Dozens more were saved preemptively, meaning they were warned by him before they could up be taken by the regime.”
Herald staff with online media